Hey! Maybe many of you may be thinking that I am living a very great life, with stable emotion and good physical condition. Great! Alhamdulillah you guys think that way because I have been living in an absolutely great condition and I don’t wish to live differently. But, after living away far from family some things have slightly changed. Life isn’t always about good stuff. It is mixed with different tastes. And at this point, my life was slightly bitter and salty.
I am different.
My way of talking,
My way of dressing,
My way of reacting,
My way of handling problems,
My way of approaching,
My way of cooking,
My way of worshipping,
My way of believing,
My way of praying,
They are all different than other people.
But one thing I know for sure that I’m no different than others.
I am a human being too.
I eat, drink and breathe.
I have a heart and I have feelings.
I get sad when things are not good
And I get happy when things are right
But why am I being treated differently? What makes other people better than I am? My religion? The way I dress? Do you know that it is illegal to discriminate other people because they have different beliefs or race or culture? Yes before living separately from my family, I never once thought about getting discriminated. I never once thought that the hijab that I wrapped around my head, covering my hair would make people look at me strangely. And I never once thought that being as who I am would be the obstacle for me to get myself a job.
Let me tell you a sad story of mine- a memory that is still fresh playing in mind. It happened last Saturday, when I was watching a movie with Nura. I received a phone call from one of my Uni friends. They were so excited to let me know that they found me a job, 30 mins away from my place. I couldn’t control my happiness and I screamed with joy on the phone. I was extremely happy and excited and nervous all at the same time because, I never worked before. I couldn’t wait for Monday because that would be my first day at job. Then Monday came and I dressed appropriately, putting more red lipstick on my lips hoping that I wouldn’t look so pale for work. But as soon as I entered the shop, the noisy restaurant suddenly quiet down. I ignored the stares that I received and hurriedly putting myself an apron. I worked hard at cleaning the tables, sweeping the floor, washing the dishes, etc.
The clock was ticking, but it didn’t pass 15 mins yet and I got called by my boss. They told me to remove my hijab. My heart sank. I could feel my blood rushed through my whole body. I could feel myself tearing up. But I froze at disbelieve. While patting my back, they continued ” I don’t mean to disappoint you or anything, but I don’t want to lose my customers if they see you wearing that weird thing on your head.” Weird. My hijab in which I put on as part of my religion is being called weird. I told them I couldn’t. I tried negotiating with my boss saying, that they can cut my salary to $5/ hour as long as I can keep my hijab on.
Of course it wasn’t that easy. So they hid me in the kitchen instead of serving the customers. The told me to clean under the sink and the pipes under it. Washed every single chair that was in the restaurant when the customers left with a sponge and a bucket of water in hand. The told me to sweeped the floor with a little broom so I had to get on my knees in order to sweep the floor. My back was hurting, my right knee that is still in recovery from the surgery two months ago was aching. But I did all of these works because I insisted in wearing my hijab.
But guess what happened on my second day of work? Yes, I got fired. I was told to quit. I received my salary still and that made me happy but when I asked my friend to find the reason why they fired me, I heard rumors from other workers there. Apparently, they said that I made a lot of mistakes. I wasn’t friendly enough to the customers that came when in reality, I didn’t get to serve one. I was also blamed that I forgot to put in one of the orders that the customer ordered which was why I was fired after two days.
Did I cry? Yes, I couldn’t stop myself from crying while walking back home. At first, I held my tears because my friends were around. But as soon as we went separately, I couldn’t help myself but to cry. Everyone was staring but they said nothing. I slept in while crying, not being able to finish my work. I tried to get a hold with my parents but the timing was different. I tried talking to my Malaysian sensation but they were busy too so I couldn’t bother them with my problem. I talked to one of my best friend, Asad and my older sister, Iqa. I felt better but the next morning when my parents called me. I cried again. I went to class that day crying. My classmates and my teacher asked if I was alright but my mouth wouldn’t tell the truth and I ended up telling them that I’m fine.
I tried to get a grip of myself. I tried to ignore people’s stares. I tried to feed myself positive vibes. It is hard. But I tried as much as I possibly can because I know there are still people out there that still care for me. That’s still against discrimination. So I’ve been putting myself up and not letting myself down.